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he just retired yesterday. he is hoping to return not to the house but instead to the senate. frank revealed he wants to fill john kerry's spot if kerry becomes secretary of state. >> i said i wasn't interested kind of like you are about to graduate and you have to go to summer school. the deal means february, march and april are among the most important months. i'm not going to be coy. i have told the governor that i would like to be a part of that. it is only a three-month period.
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i wouldn't want to do anything more. >> you know wolf blitzer will talk about that in "the situation room" which stards now. thanks very much. happening now a possible fix for the looming debt crisis without the political mudslinging. why some are suggesting the answer could lie in a special $1 trillion platinum coin. a long-time friend of hillary clinton speaking out about her health and the recent political attacks. my interview with james carville ahead. and new york city's criminal system might be clogged for years to come because of massive flood damage from superstorm sandy. we'll explain. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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24 hours and bipartisanship ushered in with a brand new congress already seems to be shifting just weeks before the next major battle over the debt ceiling republican lawmakers are making it clear they are ready to fight the president. let's bring in our national political correspondent on capitol hill with the latest. >> it seems old habits die hard. remember the moments yesterday as members of 113th congress were sworn in? never mind. after surviving a failed coo led by his own members john boehner wants to take the same fractured party into battle. in a closed door meeting of house republicans a source tells cnn boehner said he will demand
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budget cuts larger than any increase in the debt limit. boehner told the members the focus turns to spending that puts republicans and congress back on a collision course with the white house after the president insisted he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. >> i will not have another debate with this congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they have racked up through the laws that they passed. >> reporter: if the president won't come to the bargaining table one top republican says it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country. >> the yeas are 354. >> reporter: a preview came in the house where 67 republicans including paul ryan voted against $9.7 billion in aid for victims of superstorm sandy. >> shame on you.
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shame on congress. >> reporter: the fact that the rest of the storm relief is up in the air was a let down for new york and new jersey lawmakers, even the freshmen. >> i'm new here i don't know all the rules of washington but it seems like the rule here is to put off until tomorrow what should be done today. >> reporter: it was a return of the reality of broken government in washington. vice president joe biden was sworn in and hamming it up with their loved ones. we asked the vice president if things have changed. his response we're back to certifying the election. biden was heading into the house to confirm the results of the presidential election, a ritual with the constitution and a reminder of the few things that can get done without a fight. >> and asked whether the
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congress was returned to the old pattern of brinkmannship one top aid said absolutely saying the next few months won't be fun. we should mention getting back to the vote on the aid for victims of superstorm sandy. the governor of new york put out a joint statement earlier this afternoon saying that they are expecting that the rest of the money, the $51 billion that was approved by the senate in the last congress will be approved later on this month. wolf, that is no guarantee both sides of congress have to workt that out. >> it is going to take a few weeks. the senate has to come back. it is not an easy process. >> the house is saying they are going to have a vote on the rest of the money potentially on january 15th. >> there were members saying we want a clean bill and we don't want all of that in this process at least in his view there was pork in that bill. they are going to have to work
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on whether or not those items get pulled out of the final bill and is that going to be acceptable when the legislation goes to that side of the capitol. >> they start from scratch. a new congress the last congress is irrel vent. thanks very much. imagine if the political mudslinging could be avoided entirely and a much easier fix to the problem. some are suggesting just that and it could come in the form of a $1 trillion platinum coin. this unusual story. we are laughing but some people are taking it seriously. >> it sounds crazy but some legal scholars say it is legal and could be done with the president and congress hurdling towards another show down something like what i'm holding in my hand could be the key. >> i want to welcome -- >> reporter: the president says he won't negotiate with congress
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over lifting the debt ceiling. >> i will not play that game. >> reporter: republicans say -- >> the president may not want to have this debate but he will have it because the country needs it. >> reporter: so as they debate over a debate is it a magic bullet to solve the crisis. try a magic coin. some are suggesting a $1 trillion platinum koint could be minted and the government could use that to pay the debt, avoid the fault and preempt the debt ceiling crisis. i'm being absolutely serious. it sounds silly but it's absolutely legal. i spoke to economist. >> why do you think it is a good idea right now? >> well, i think it is better than a government shut down. it is better than defaulting on the debt. it is better than the bad alternatives. >> reporter: and technically it does appear to be legal. the u.s. government can print new money but there is a limit
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to how much paper money in circulation and rules that at least limit the denominations that gold, silver and copper coins can be but no limit on platinum coins. the president can issue a coin and treasury can mint it. the president can order that coin to be deposited at the federal reserve. then -- >> the fed would credit the treasury account so the fed will cash the checks. >> reporter: and that money would never be in public circulation so some believe it wouldn't cause inflation but it will only temporarily pay bills and won't bring down massive debt long term. >> i think this is waving pixy dust over the debt and pretending the debt is going to go away by one of these washington gimmicks. minting new coins will not do anything about dealing with the
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fundamental problem. remember this from dr. evil. >> if you want it back you are going to have to pay me $1 million. [ laughter ] >> apparently then the government could just mint another one of those coins. by the way, none of this requires congressional consent sot that is what makes it attractive. we have tried to see if this is something the president would consider. the white house hasn't gotten back to us. the section of the law that authorizes this was meant to allow for commemorative coins to be printed. under that same law the treasury secretary does have the authority to mint the coins in any denomination he or she sees fit. >> it wouldn't be a $1 million coin. >> it would be a $1 trillion
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coin. wall street has just ended a strong abbreviated week. investors are digesting the latest jobs report showing unemployment unchanged at 7.8% at the month of december. 155,000 jobs added. joining us now to break down the numbers. how do these latest numbers play into the whole political debate that is coming up over the next chapter of our fiscal cliff? >> at this point if it is setting as you go it is not transformative because each side can make an argument and the white house can say we are heading in the right direction. we are steady. if you mess around with things and don't approve the debt ceiling you are going to throw a bunch of uncertainty into the economy and it is going to start tanking and heading south. republicans can make the argument that they are making which is unless you seriously reform entitlements america will turn to greece.
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each side can use the economy so long as it remains kind of flat hopefully headed in the right direction to their advantage. >> the president has major decisions to make. he is going to be coming back to washington over the weekend. we expect maybe as earlyies monday or tuesday we will start making cabinet announcements and nominating new positions. what do you hear? >> since mid december we have been reporting that chuck hagual was at the top of the list to be next secretary of defense. the longer his name stayed out there there was some sense that perhaps the president was wavering on that. the latest reporting we have is that in fact he is still the front runner to be the next secretary of defense and that could come, that announcement could come early next week along with a bunch of other announcements for key cabinet
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positions. i have been told, wolf, that at this point the president has not yet checked that final box although that could happen in an hour or an hour ago but that is my latest. the sense around washington with people who are knowledgeable about the president's thinking is that the bet is that it will be chuck hagel. >> i just got an e-mail from a source that says he hasn't offered the job to anybody. maybe they are getting closer and closer. >> he is in hawaii. >> maybe he is not going to offer it until he gets back. >> the thinking is that chuck hagel will be offered that job and he has already had his friends lobbying for him for it. i might add it is controversial this is somebody who has been against sanctions and for talking to hamas. and there are democrats as well as some republicans who are a
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bit skeptical about this. as you know chuck hagel is a republican and serves on the intelligence advisory board and is a personal friend of the president's. the question is whether anybody in the senate would actually put a hold on the nomination. >> i know he has been thoroughly vetted and is fine for the position. he is on the president's foreign intelligence advisory board. >> exactly. >> thank you. it has been a rough couple of months for hillary clinton. i will talk to a close friend of the clinton's. he ishere. we will talk about how all of this could affect a possible run in 2016. plus warehouses storing police evidence are still damaged from superstorm sandy. can you tell this picture is photo shopped. we will tell you why an official
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photo of the new congress. so, um, whoever's fathered the most children, gets the most data. let's just do it by hair. body hair? most dental work. what? [ phones buzzing and beeping ] stop downloading, and stop liking everything. it should be by who has the least amount of cartilage in their left knee. [ mom ] i just want to take a bath. [ male announcer ] say no to sharing. say yes to sprint. with truly unlimited data, text and calling. when i'm out with my kids, my daughter's like, "mom, wait up!" and i'm thinking, "shouldn't you have more energy than me? you're, like, eight!" [ male announcer ] for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. simple. effective. advantage: mom. let's fight fat with alli. learn more, lose more at letsfightfat.com.
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days after the last house of representatives ignited a huge political fire storm refusing to vote on a $60 billion aid package both chambers of the new congress have approved a smaller $9.7 billion measure. the remaining $51 billion will be considered later this month. money is only one of the many challenges facing new york and new jersey in the wake of the storm. another major problem, two facilities housing thousands and thousands of barrels of evidence in criminal cases are damaged and it could take a huge toll on
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the courts. what is going on? >> there are some cases right now making their way through new york city courts where evidence can't be produced. it is unclear at this point how extensive a problem this is going to be in criminal trials. >> this flood damaged warehouse right on new york harbor could actually clog the city's overflowing criminal system for years to come. it sits in an area devastated by superstorm sandy. there are thousands of pieces of police evidence that right now can't be touched. >> significant flooding has taken place. no question about it. we are still trying to sort through this and assess the total damage. it's a big job. >> reporter: that was back in november. the police department says it still hasn't been able to get into this facility and a second one because sewerage
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contamination has made them unsafe. trials can't wait. >> could be a major problem if evidence that has been damaged is critical to proving a case. >> reporter: the nypd says so far there have been six criminal case where police said there is evidence but it is not accessible. in cases involving dna and narcotics prosecutors rely on results of tests done on smaller samples of the evidence and police say the results are kept at a different facility that was not surprised by the storm. what about cases where there is, let's say blood ev, where the physical evidence is in the warehouse but test results are in a different location? >> you would have the issue of if there is enough for the defense to test the sample. it wouldn't necessarily be fatal to a case but in criminal cases
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beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard of proof. if you eliminate the physical evidence you can put a serious dent in the case. >> reporter: the nypd has consulted with counter parts in new orleans where evidence was destroyed during hurricane katrina. one difference was that flood waters remained at the courthouse and they had the job of cataloging evidence. >> it took years. it is not something that can be easily done. and in new york you are looking at facilities that the are much more vast than what we had here in new orleans. so that compounds it even more. >> reporter: now, as far as the damage here in new york nypd says it expects to assess the damage in coming weeks. it doesn't believe that all of the evidence was damaged in the facilities but right now it is
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unclear. meantime the chief attorney for the legal aid society says he expects more cases to emerge where there is going to be a problem. he cites 213 cases each year. >> couldn't more be done to foresee what could happen leaving the evidence in a relatively vulnerable area, facility on the water. >> when you see the pictures of where the facility is surrounded by water they are certainly vulnerable. the police department says it did take precautions. obviously that didn't help with the flood water and the storm. it says in august it had been looking at different facilities that it had planned to move out of that location. obviously that is something done in the future to make sure that this won't happen again. >> that would be smart. let's talk more about the relief aid for the victims of
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superstorm sandy. joining us is ken fineburg. you have given away what, $25 billion to victims of 9/11, katrina and several others, bp and virginia tech. what is your role now as far as superstorm sandy is concerned. >> liberty mutual with claims all over the mid atlantic region has decided to set up a program to accelerate. anybody insured with liberty first tries to resolve. if that doesn't work liberty has asked me to set up an independent program designed to place with a neutral third party to try to resolve the claim quickly in a matter of four to
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six weeks. >> you will be mediating between liberty mutualal and individuals who aren't satisfied with the money they are going to get if they paid the premiums over the years. >> homeowners, commercial establishments, business interruption claims, automobile insurance claims, all of those claims first go to liberty. in katrina liberty resolved like 95% of the claims. if you are not getting satisfaction then this program will accelerate the processing and effort to get it resolved. >> you are retained by liberty mutual. >> liberty mutual is paying the entire cost of the mediation program. i have reached out to about 40 mediators. we will have enough mediators available to handle the claims if as i suspect there are a relatively modest number. >> this is private money going to individuals. you are not giving government
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money away that congress will appropriate. >> this is a purely private effort by an insurance company to do the right thing and accelerate the processing of the claims in an effort to get them resolved quickly without going to the court. >> let's say they get the $60 billion through congress and they start distributing money to individuals you have given away a lot of money. give us some advice how do they do that and make sure the people who really need it get it and are not phony operations and people trying to suck away a little money? >> most important two conditions i have learned over the years. one, get the money out fast. don't delay the process. >> whether you say get the money out fast how do you know the money is going to the people that need it the most. >> you need to have a fully transparent process with the right people reviewing the claims or the requests for compensation so that you have a
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certain comfort level even with bp we had over a million claims. there were about 12,000 that were fraudulent because we had a pretty effective antifraud mechanism in place. >> we are hearing stories from people who aren't getting the money they shouldn't be getting from insurance companies. >> this program -- >> the program that you're involved in. >> that i'm prauvl involved in is designed to deal with the concern about delay and amount. i am confident based on the katrina experience that this mediation program will be reserved for the relatively modest number of claims with the insured does not get satisfaction. >> you had a major decision after 9/11 or katrina or b.p., how much is a life worth, for example, if someone died in 9/11 at the world trade center. you had to determine how much
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the survivors would get. those are impossible decisions to make. >> they are difficult. with the insurance sandy claims you will probably see disputes over is it wind and rain covered, flood not covered. >> unless you have flood insurance. >> that is not liberty mutual. what was the business interruption because my commercial establishment was closed i lost a certain amount of profit or income, revenue, is that covered. what is the value of the automobile that was destroyed. that is a relatively straightforward calculation. >> is it a difference it is your house that was destroyed or if you are a millionaire and you have a second home on the jersey shore, do those issues even come into effect? >> in the private insurance business what is the contract? what is covered? what is insured? your first home? second home? third home. you have to look at the policy.
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liberty made it clear -- >> what about the government money allocated? >> most of that government money i suspect i bet you the great bulk of that money is for community purposes, bridges, roads, sewers, water. i doubt that much of that government money is going to be reserved for individual payments to individuals residing in this area, fema and most of that money i suspect as in katrina is going to go for community wide improvements. >> what was the most difficult kind of decision you had to make in giving away money, government money to the victims of 9/11 or bp or katrina, virginia tech shooting and these areas where you were asked to distribute funds? >> in all of these cases whether bp or 9/11 or virginia tech, any of them, the emotion that you confront with people who just y
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justifiably have been wronged through no fault of their own, they are innocent vingtms and are frustrated by life's misfortune. you have to understand what they confront and that is the most difficult is being sort of a psychiatrist in trying to gauge that emotion and try and deal with them as best you can. >> good luck. >> thank you. >> thanks for coming in. kw you tell this picture has been photo shopped? take a look at it. we'll tell you why and why nancy pelosi office doctored the photo of the new congress. well, yeah, yes. the "name your price" tool. you tell us the price you want to pay, and we give you a range of options to choose from. careful, though -- that kind of power can go to your head. that explains a lot. yo, buddy! i got this.
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this just coming in to "the situation room." a plane has crashed into a home in florida. >> this is other stories. the sheriff's department of florida half way between orlando and jacksonville confirms that a small plane with five passengers smashed into a home.
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smilsh reports indicate the pilot declared an emergency about ten minutes before the crash after reporting the plane was severely shaking. the plane hit a house. still don't have a word on injuries. other stories. hugo chavez is battling what is called a severe lung infection. the infection could be very serious because chavez's immune system is weakened from cancer. the president has been hospitalized in cuba since undergoing cancer surgery more than three weeks ago. and an amazing story of recovery coming out of london three months after being attacked by taliban gun men malala is being discharged. she was shot in the head for speaking out advocating
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education for pakistani girls. the 15-year-old now an international symbol of courage. an amazing story of recovery there. his term in the house is over but barney frank could be back on capitol hill. the lawmaker told msnbc he asked to be appointed as a temporary senator if john kerry becomes secretary of state. frank says he wants to be a part of the looming battle over the debt ceiling but says he has no interest in running for the position permanently. let's see if you can spot the difference between the two photos. one of the photos released by nancy pelosi's office and the other shows who is standing on the capitol hill. it is obvious that four congress women have been photo shopped
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into the picture. pelosi asked if she considered it an accurate historical record today. >> it is active of who the democratic women of congress are and it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and had to get back into the building to greet constituents and family members. it wasn't like we had the rest of the day to stand there. >> it definitely was cold. this might be a nonscore if pelosi's office said it was photo shopped to include all women. reporters noticed the difference in the photos and spoke up. >> good notice. >> it is pretty obvious when you see the original. in this day and age you can doctor pretty much anything. >> that photo shop this is working out pretty good. >> i don't know how to do it. one fight down and another
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one around the corner. will the looming battle over the debt ceiling lead to a government shut down? and how do you deal with an unruly passenger on a flight? one airline decided to duct tape him to his seat. you will want to see this. stay with us.
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>> joining us now, the democratic strategist and republican strategist. guys, thanks very much for coming in. the senator from texas ran an op ed in the "houston chronicle" in which he said this about the upcoming debt ceiling fight.
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it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country. now, you remember the last time republicans shut down the government? >> bill clinton and newt gingrich and it was the standoff. it might have started because night got thrown off the back of air force one. >> i was on that plane coming back from a funeral in israel. >> there a lot of differences. this time the country is $16 trillion in debt. this president has made no effort to be willing to cut spending or address the debt. with the american people, more behind the idea that the debt is a problem now than then, republicans have legitimate -- >> the last time it didn't work out well for the republicans. >> a political fight they lost,
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but at this point first of all maybe they don't have as much to lose. they had a rough coup of months. barack obama won the election. the majority of the american people say debt say serious problem and saying that the american way of life is in decline. we are in a different moment. >> it did not work out well for the republicans for the same reason this won't. he's a smart guy and a good guy. he's a fellow texan and a great guy. not getting good advice or leadership for the country. the notion that these republicans want to damage the economy, damage the country in order to further their ends, it's like the old quote from the officer who said we had to destroy the village in order to save it. >> they weren't going to
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negotiate. they were gone just on paying the the billing. >> the debt ceiling wants a blank check cut to him. he would make it so that he could say whatever he want and there were no limits on the debt. he set this matter up. >> under the constitution, only the congress can send money. the senator and colleagues voted for the debt and we must pay it. the president is exactly right. it should be non-negotiateiable to pay the lebts. that should be nonnegotiable. >> congress and the house and the senate have been raising the debt ceiling according to the law to keep it going. dozens and dozens of times. we had no debt ceiling. >> congress every few years, every two or years was forced to raise the debt. last time it was a big deal. >> it has been for a while now. even president obama voted
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against raising the debt. >> that was shameful. he now said he regrets that. i'm with you. he should have never cast that vote. america must pay its bills. those are not obama's debts. >> if the president holds to what he is saying, i am not negotiating and the republicans are not going to raise it unless we come up with spending cuts equal to the debt ceiling. what happens? >> the republicans may cause the country to default. they have the power and do control half of the congress and they have enough votes to block anything. i think it's disgraceful and the president is doing all he can to run the only super power on god's earth. somewhat optimistic. they seem to want to destroy the economy. . >> the will of the people, the american people believe that this government is too big and it spends too much and taxes too much.
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it's $16 trillion in debt. if the president ignores that problem, he does so on his own. he can't be intimidator in chief, but commander in chief. this is the moment. the debt that your party -- >> he added $6 trillion. >> they handed it off to republicans and the republicans created the debt. by waging two wars on the credit card and passing the drug claim for seniors and deregulating wall street. those were the pieces. all of the republican policies. the president has been trying and succeeding in ameliorating those policies. >> he has taken the debt from $10 trillion to $16 trillion. that's quite an accomplishment. >> paul is blaming bush for raising it from $10 trillion. >> 0 to 10.
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>> let's give barack obama credit for the 6 trillion. >> we are paying for mr. bush's wars and until yesterday for the tax cuts for the rich. we are still paying for them. >> we support it. >> not for the such. >> for 98 of americans. >> he made permanent up to $450,000. >> yet the republicans voted against it. 64% of republicans voted against this. >> you guys are going to disagree on this issue. we will see what happens and who blinks on this one. we are coming in with an early spike of case of the flu across the country and the worst may be on the way. we will tell you what you need to know to protect yourself right now. how do you deal with a disruptive passage. for one airline, all it took was heavy duct tape and plastic ties. we have the stunning details coming up. ir i'm gonna have to ask you to
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power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just click away with our free mobile app.
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. the flu season is having an early spike across the country. look at the red. more than half of the states
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have widespread flu activity. we are watching all of this unfold. there is important information for all of the viewers that they need to know as far as the flu is concerned. it will be worse than a lot of folks thought. our senior correspondent is here. how bad has the flu season been so far? >> the key is the so far part. it's a pretty bad flu season. they are having a heavy activity early. the flu activity is very heavy at various times of the flu season. it started in mid-november and the cdc report just came out this morning. last week there were 29 states that had heavy flu activity and the week before only 16. that's a big jump in one week.
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wolf? >> how bad could the flu season get? >> they said it's shaping up to be a moderate to severe flu season. moderate to severe. it's not the worst one ever. even if you look at the flu season at this point in time, there two or three other seasons that have been this bad this early. it's not unheard of. >> a lot of folks who are watching are asking if they haven't gotten the shot, is it too late? >> it is not too late. we haven't seen the worst of this flu season yet. it's not too late. the flu shot work in most if not all cases. it doesn't make you sick. >> i got a shot and i assume you did. should certain people not get it? >> if you are allergic to components of it. they used to say if you are elderly or have immune problems. everyone should. not to protect yourself, but people around you. >> good advice.
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thank you. elizabeth. a long time friend of hillary clinton is speaking out about her health and plital kar alolis it has been generating. that's next.
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>> hillary clinton is wrapping up what was a rough week. she started with a blood clot in her head. she is eager to get back to work and she might return to work as early as next week. joining us now to talk about all of this and how it is playing out and what it could be politically. a long time friend of hillary and bill clinton and democratic strategist, james, thanks very much for coming in. before the hospitalization because of the blood clot, there was concern over commentators really going after the secretary of state. let me play a few clips. >> i'm not a doctor, but seems as though the secretary of state has benghazi flu. >> she has a kite benghazi allergy that causes lightheadedness when she hears
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the word benghazi. >> if a tree falls in the forest, does it really fall if no one heard. did she have a concussion? maybe. who knows. >> they were accusing her of faking sickness in order to avoid having to testify. when you heard those commentaries, what went through your mind? >> what kind of human being is going to think like that with everything going on with concussions and head injuries and dehydrated the fact that she was overseas so much. i don't know. some of these people i know and i get along with them and i have no idea what that's drives them to this kind of inhumane idiotic behavior and statements. something i will never understand and none of it made any sense at all. people in clinton land were very, very concerned about the
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secretary of state when she fell and hit her head and particularly when they had the blood clot. now i can assure you that all of this was heard and duley noted. this is really an inhumane discussion that these people were having. i have no idea what would lead them to do something like that. it's beyond me. as if she wouldn't testify on benghazi. she said she took responsibility for it and ordered an investigation into it and god know what is else. it doesn't make sense. just a cheap sound byte if you ask me. >> in 1992 her 4uz was elected president of the united states. if anything i know about her and i covered her as a first lady and senator and secretary of state. i don't think she was reluctant at all on benghazi. i think she wanted to defend or explain or do whatever she could to let the public o public know
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what was going on. >> i don't have any doubt about that. all of benghazi that turned out and mistakes were made and responsibility was taken. investigation was put in. i don't think anything is investigated with as much cooperation as this was. i can't imagine what it is that these people want other than the fact that they have some intense hatred for the secretary of state that can't be explained. they should just go out and say it. one was this clown. it's hard for me to know how somebody can say what he said. hillary hating is old and deep and still alive. i was hoping after the tremendous service to the country it would have dissipated, awe b parentally not. >> ambassador to the united nations, let's look ahead. 2016 as i love doing and you love doing as well.
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i suspect and this is just me, that she still would like to be the first woman president of the united states. do you agree? >> let me put it this way. i hope so. i help that after having an injury like this, she is probably exhausted. i would make no secret about my admiration for her and i hope she runs for president, but i don't think she has made up her mind. traveling around the country, every democrat that i see really wants her to run. the nomination is hers for the taking if she did run, but i have no idea why. unlike anybody else, i hope and pray she does. >> i asked about this yesterday here in "the situation room." listen to what he said. >> she might want to do it and take on the republicans and to go through the primaries and the
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pancake eating in iowa and everything, that's a lot to impose on somebody. >> i think assuming she is healthy and we all hope she is healthy, she she rests up for the next six months or a year. she has good name recognition. when she rests up. >> i'm hoping that she does and i suspect she doesn't mind eating a pancake or two along the way. it's hard to find a democrat or voter or donor or activist or politician that doesn't want her to run. it's unusual that the democratic party has this unity. i have been a member my whole life and i never have seen anything like this. who knows what's going to happen. it's a lot of enthusiasm out there right now. >> joining us as usual, thank
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you very much. >> thank you. have a happy new year. >> you too. talk about a man what must have been behaving badly. we have a picture to show you what happened. he had to be duct taped to a seat on the flight. details coming up.
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a stunning facebook picture is going viral showing an airline passenger duct taped to his seat. it may seem like an unusual way to restrain an unruly passenger, but this is a standard procedure. joining us with details. what happened? >> this is how they dealt with a disruptive passenger on one iceland air flight yesterday. all they needed was heavy duty tape and plastic ties. iceland air said on a flight to new york, a disruptive passenger was hitting and streaming and spitting at other passengers while yelling profanities. the unruly passenger was restrained by others on board. here's a picture posted on facebook of the passenger wrapped up in tape and bound with plastic ties in his seat.
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iceland air said she was monitored and met by authorities at john f. kennedy airport. the man was drunk and not charged with any crime, but taken to an area report. the person who posted the picture on facebook was a friend of one of the passengers on board and said the unruly passenger bought a duty free bottle of liquor and frank it on the flight. they confirmed to cnn that duct tape and plastic zip ties are standard when restraining a passenger saying yes, this equipment is on board all flights in case an incident like this arises. according to an official familiar with u.s. airline security, flight attendants are trained to diffuse unruly passengers and if that's not successful, they are supposed to identify three able-bodied volunteers to restrain them and provide them with tough cuff on
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the aircraft and an insider said he never heard of a u.s. airline keeping duct tape, but noted that it is not a prohibited item. >> thank you. >> you are in "the situation room" happening now. he rescued americans in trouble all over the world. the state department is not pleased with the upcoming trip to north korea. i will ask him why. a huge step forward for the pakistani girl who spoke out for education. part of the video warning sailors about the dangers of the drugs known as bath salts. we want to welcome our viewers. i'm wolf blitzer and you are in "the situation room."
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>> here's won the release of captive americans in the world's most dangerous hot spots. bill richardson has been a trouble shooter as a congressman and united nations ambassador and governor of new mexico. the governor is making a high profile trip to north korea. another american is in serious trouble and a surprising twist, richardson will be joined by the google chairman, eric schmidt. they said the timing is not great given north korea's receipt rocket launch. joining us now is governor bill richardson. how come you are going against the wishes of the state department anded haddi indin id north korea? >> i understand why they are cautious. this is a sensitive time in diplomacy with north korea. we are not happy with what the
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north koreans have been doing. i'm a private citizen. this is a private humanitarian mission. we postponed it at their request once right before the south korean elections. there never seems to be a good time to go. in the past, i postponed business to north korea at their request, but at this time because of the humanitarian nature of the trip and the fact that there is an american detainee there, i heard from the son of the detainee and i think it's important and it's a brief visit. this is not a google visit. i hope the state department is appropriately cautious, but obviously they have a little bit of define.
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per are they are detained in north korea, is that right? >> our goals are several. the primary mission is humanitarian. we will look at the human situation in north korea. the poorest nation in the world. the detainee issue is another one. we will try to see the detainee and it will be difficult to bring him back because the judicial process hasn't even commenced. third, we will talk about some of the nuclear issues. very concerned about a possible nuclear test concerned about receipt actions by the north koreans. these are unofficial. this is not any representation of the department or the administration. it's a two to three-day visit and we hope to come back as i have over the years. the last 15 years, i had success
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in negotiating. >> any chance you will meet with the new leader, kim jung un? >> very doubtful. i think they have the leadership of their country meet only with the appropriate government leadership from other countries. this is a private visit, i don't believe we will meet with them, but we will meet with a variety of officials from the foreign ministry and the economic ministry and the military. it will be a wide ranging visit where we get a chance not only to talk to a number of north korean officials, but to get a chance to look at the humanitarian situation. >> i know you had a chance to review kim jung un's speech on new year's eve. is he trying to reach out to south korea and to the west? is there a moderation in the position and is it the same old
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same old? what do you think? >> i'm getting mixed messages. we wanted to get an assessment. on the one hand it's new year's eve and the speech talks about a dialogue with south korea. the new south korean president is ready to engage. secondly these launches have undertaken are not conducive to negotiations and the international community of feeling comfort with discussions issues with north korea. it seems that the new leader is trying to strengthen himself domestically with his own people. the fact that the launch a year ago failed, now succeeded and now that buttresses humans and the north koreans also like to send a message. we are around and players and we have nuclear weapons.
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the international community should pay attention to us. >> it's a tense time on the korean peninsula and there exchanges between north skpo and south korea. as i remember, how would you describe the situation on the korean peninsula as compared to the -- >> it's still very tense. obviously these launches provoked a lot of concern. the possibility of a nuclear test has provoked other concern. the security council is considering additional sanctions. the situation is tense. the relationship between north korea and south korea, what the new leader has talked about which is a dialogue, maybe things are calming down a bit. maybe there is an opportunity for a new dialogue. a new leader in north corae and
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a new leader in south korea. hopefully this is going to be the key. how the two koreas work with each other. i think that the 6th party countries, russia, china and the u.s. and south korea. i am concerned about north korea's recent actions and a new dialogue is needed. representing the u.s. government and eric schmitt is the private citizen and not as a google representative will make an assessment and see what comes of our visit. i think it will be positive. >> your north korean adviser is going along on the trip as well and has been there many, many times. . >> that's right.
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>> we will stay in close touch and good luck. >> thank you. thank you very much. more information on who might be the next secretary of defense of the united states. gloria borger is working her sources and a lot of speculation about chuck hegel. what's going on? >> i have been told the white house told senior members of congress to expect the nomination of chuck hegel as secretary of defense. that could come potentially early next week. the white house as you reported and i reported it said that the president has not checked the box yet. he is on vacation in hawaii as we know. i have been told the senior members of congress have been
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told that they should expect the nomination of chuck hegel. >> he was a republican senator from nebraska for many, many years. very close to joe biden when he was a senator from delaware. i remember way back in december 2002 just before the war in iraq, i was reporting from qatar where the military had maneuvers and chuck hegel and joe biden has been in northern iraq and showed up in qatar and i could see they had a very, very strong relationship. >> they have a very strong happy and i have been told that joe biden is somebody who is kind of trying to pave the way for chuck hegel and been in favor of this nomination. i have been told that hegel has been privately working the hill and trying to clear his own path towards the nomination and there has been controvercy be chuck hegel, not the least of which is in the past.
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he has been against sanctions and for talking to hamas and there people who believe that in fact he is a little too dovish to lead the pentagon. there was a question of whether any republican would actually put a hold on the nomination. >> some said they will vote against it. >> yes, but putting a hold on it would be a very rare thing and the white house would not be about to nominate him if they didn't think he could actually make it through the senate. whatty we are learning is the white house hold senior members of congress to expect the nomination. >> you have serious questions. chuck hegel did endorse the president in 2008 and 2012. >> that are created consternation for john mccain who had been very, very close to chuck hegel in the senate as
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fellow republican. i think that they have a distance to go. not only with republicans by the way, but with democrats who really are feeling the heat from the pro israel hob lobby who would not support chuck hegel. not only is joe biden comfortable, but the president himself knows chuck hegel well and serves on the intelligence advisory board and it's clear they established a relationship. >> word that the headline out of what we were just talking about is members of congress are being informally notified. >> they have been told. >> get ready for the hegel nomination. as i pointed out in the last hour, i got an e-mail that poet us has not offered the job to anyone. he is thoroughly vetted. >> members of congress have to
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prepare. >> good work, gloria. thank you. >> other news we are following, a big breakthrough for a pakistani girl who spoke out and gained the hatred of the taliban and gunmen shot her in the head. she has been a symbol of courage and she left a british hospital. here's our senior correspondent. >> wolf, first steps towards recovery for this 15-year-old pakistani campaigner for girls education shot in the head by taliban government in october. after sharply criticizing their ban on female education. really heart warming to see her make great progress. let's take a look. holding the hand of a nurse, she made her own way out of the hospital where she has been treated for her traumatic injuries. she managed to wave at staff as she was discharged. she is a strong young woman and worked hard with the people
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caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery. doctors say she may benefit from being with her family, but will need to be readmitted for reconstructively surgery in several weeks. this is far from complete. from the early age of 11, she has been an outspoken campaigner for female education in her native region of pakistan. criticizing the taliban who banned schooling for girls. she was shot in the head and neck and october after her school bus was stopped by taliban gunmen who demand the other children identify her. it provoked calls for a crack down on militants. she was evacuated to britain for medical treatment and an international symbol of courage. hundreds of thousands signed a petition and awarded the nobel peace prize. >> they are subjected to
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violence all the time and speaking out about their rights, she was a child speaking out about her rights in a very, very difficult context. she spoke how knowing that she could be subjected to violence, what makes it even more interesting is that she had the support of her family, particularly her father to actually speak out. >> the focus is on her first steps. her father has been given a job at pakistan's consulate allowing the family to stay in britain for the years of therapy and medical treatment. that now lies ahead. that job is for a period of at least three years with the possibility of an extension after that according to officials. that means that she and her family may decide to stay in the relative security of britain for the foreseeable future. >> thank you, matthew. the jobs market here in the united states holding steady, but for millions of americans that's not good enough. we have more on what's going on and tips that may help you.
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if you are looking for work, shark fin soup is a delicacy in asia, but graphic new evidence that it may play a in the stunning decline of the shark population. 
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the december jobs report is out and the cup is neither half empty or half full depending on whether you are looking for work. christine romans shows us where the jobs are and aren't. >> this is a job market that is treading water. not enough to lower the unemployment rate as it is unchanged as was the
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underemployment rate. those are people working part-time and like to be working full time and are discouraged workers. that's the unemployed group called the real unemployment rate and has been a problem. let's look at where the jobs are being created and lost. government jobs. all of these lost in schools and you saw jobs created. in hospital like food and restaurants and restaurants. the manufacturing jobs, 25,000 created there and jobs created in construction that is most likely related to rebuilding after hurricane sandy. we had a housing recovery that could be some of those jobs as well. when you look within the worker groups, they are unchanged, but african-american unemployment ticked up in the month from 13.2% to 14%. you can see the disparity has been a problem with the great
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recession. here is the trend. you can't look at one month. you must look at the trend. we had a rough go, but since then we have been putting up these months of triple-digit jobs gained. not enough to lower the unemployment rate, but showing that businesses are hiring. the question is if you get past the wars into the new year, will they feel more confident. cnn, new york. >> the job market may have stabilized and turned a corner, it remains bleak for a lot of americans. there things you can do. we take a closer look. >> roughly 12 million americans are without work. five million for a half year or more. career counsellors across the country are starting 2013 with a clear message. keep hanging on. >> not something we would all
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like, but it's competitive whether you are working or not. i think individuals who have that advantage of having employment should take full advantage of that. >> that they say means three things. first ask for opportunity. build your professional network inside and outside of your office. worker who is go unnoticed are often the first to go out the door. >> they don't raise their hand for the difficult projects. they don't ask for lateral moves or more responsibilities. they don't join teams. these are things that companies look for for people for the longer haul. >> she works for apollo research institute that promotes further education and that's what many say is the second key. take advantage of every training opportunity. >> good times or tough times, you should be looking at how you develop and grow your skills. the current employer or position
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or perhaps it's something down the road. >> lastly -- unlike the unhappy guys in the movie office space, embrace all sorts of technology. >> by the year 2020, over 75% of jobs will have a technology component. i think that's important for people to understand for longevity and employment of the future. >> staying employed this year will be easier in some fields than in others. for example, jobs in health care and business services like sales are expected to be plentiful. as 2013 goes on, the job market is predicted to pick up steam. setting the stage for better days in the next new year. cnn, washington. >> preparing to fly a plane to new york is pulled from the cockpit for smelling like alcohol. we are following the
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development. stay with us. you are in "the situation room." s customer satisfaction is at 97%. mmmm tasty. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts. so we're taking you behind the scenes. this coffee cup, for example, is computer animated. it's not real. geico's customer satisfaction is quite real though. this computer-animated coffee tastes dreadful. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 % or more on car insurance. someone get me a latte will ya, please?
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a new report gives a boost
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to the controversial pipeline. we are monitoring that and other top stories in "the situation room." what's going on? >> the keystone pipeline is back. regulators conducted a review of the pipeline that runs from alberta, canada to the gulf of mexico. the proposed route avoids many of the sensitive areas that caused environmental concern. the review has been sunday to the governor who has 30 days to make a final recommendation to the government. an american eagle pilot. he was under the influence this morning when someone smelled chicago on his breath. no passengers were on board fortunately and he failed a breathalyzer test. he is off the job obviously while they investigate the
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incident. first it was an actor and now an actress wants to leave france. they threaten to apply russian citizenship if they don't euthanize two sick elephants at a french zoo. she is angry over high taxes in france. wolf, you might be next getting these offers from russia. >> i'm not going. i love the united states. my dad always said, you make the money, you pay the taxes. that's the way it is. >> very smart man. >> thank you. >> president obama just did something that he blasted president bush for doing. a constitutional scholar, he may be taking heat from constitutional scholars.
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. president obama this week did something he once slammed his predecessor for doing back in 2008 criticizing president bush for signing a bill while adding a statement that he doesn't intend to execute parts of the legislation. >> this is part of the whole theory of george bush that he can make laws as he's going along. i disagree with that. i taught the constitution for ten years and believe in the constitution and will a bay the constitution of the united states. we are not going to use sign statements as a way to do a run around. >> but the president used the signing statement. he signed the defense authorization act while adding that signing statement noting that he disagreed with key parts of the bill. earlier the white house said that if the bill was presented for his approval, the
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president's senior advisers would recommend he veto the bill. joining us now to explain what's going on. the constitutional law professor john harrison from the university of virginia who served at the justice and state department. thanks for coming in. entertain sisigning statement really is. >> a signing statement is a document that signs into law and takes positions on what the bill means and the possibility that some parts of the bill might be unconstitutional because they invade the powers and saying the president will therefore not carry out the parts he thinks are unconstitutional. >> he didn't like the legislation that he signed that prevents them from being held in afghanistan or guantanamo bay to the united states. he signs this statement and does
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that mean he doesn't have to obey the now law? >> here doesn't have to and not going to because that part of the law is unconstitutional. it's like what a court does when they say part of the federal stad ut is unconstitutional. >> a lot of groups say that's inappropriate and argue using the statements by presidents, that in and of itself is necessarily constitutional. where do you stand on this? >> my view is that if the president thinks a provision is unconstitutional, then the constitution says it is not law and he doesn't have to carry it out. i agree with both parties. >> here did issue a memorandum on march 9th, 2009 despite what he said railing against president bush as a candidate. he did issue a statement. i will issue statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of dischanging
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my constitutional responsibilities. he is being accused of being hypocritical. >> well, it is a position that presidents have long taken the in the statement of the presidents that you played a few minutes ago, he said he would abide by the constitution. if you think that the constitution really does nullify stad uts that invade executive power, it is consistent with the constitution. >> here said i'm not going to use signing statements as a way to do an end run around of congress. that's a pretty specific statement. has he fliped from the position he took as a candidate? >> strictly speaking he has not. the implication back when he was a candidate is that he wouldn't do things like this.
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there was a reasonable interpretation of which he hasn't changed. it does require close reading. >> for does require close reading because to the average person, it sounds like he's changed his mind. that is not unusual because when you are a senator or a candidate, you have different responsibilities than when are period of the u.s. when he was a senator, he voted against raising the debt seelying and said he regrets that. now he doesn't want to talk about negotiating over raising the debt ceiling. thedom line dobottom line is w president, you have to do smipg things you don't want to do. that's your experience as well. >> that are is unquestionably the case. when somebody is president, he thinks more about the authority of the president. it's not surprising on positions like this. presidents of both parties take positions that support authority
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as they see them, whatever they may have said before they took the office. >> even though the law bars prisoners from guantanamo bay to come to the united states, i assume that would set up a constitutional crisis. >> it would set up a confrontation between congress and the president. no kbe it. my suspicion is that is unlikely, but the president's position raises the possibility. >> he wanted to get the prisoners out and close it in the first year and getting his fifth year as president and still hasn't happened. we will see where it takes us over the next term of the president. see what happens. thanks for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> the u.s. supreme court will take up a custody battle over a cherokee girl that concerns the rights of adoptive parents and the preservation of native american families. joe johns is here with details
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on this case. it's a pretty amazing case when you think about it. a lot of heart wrenching going on. >> it absolutely pulls at your emotional heart strings. the child known as baby ve ronnic ro ronnica was adopted under unusual circumstances. it's a pregnancy of an unmatter couple. the mother wanted to put the child up for adoption and she did. the father signed a waiver giving up parental rights. he didn't know what he was signing and the other side said he did not acknowledge the child was his until after she was adopted. he said he wasn't made aware of the adoption until he was deployed to iraq. what has driven this case all the way to the supreme court is that the father is native
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american, cherokee to be exact. there was a federal law called the indian child welfare act that applies to the case that said in disputes over native american children, preference should be given to family members, members of the tribe. in this case the family went to court to demand the child back. the cherokee nation is backing the father 100%. listen. >> it's not anyone's intent to rip a child away from a loving home, but we want to make sure the loving homes have the opportunity to be indian homes first. >> adoptive parents have taken the case all the way to the highest court and saying it ought to count for something that the child was not with the father when she was adopted and the reaccept ought to a play that is the best interest of the child and not a law that treats native american children
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different than other races. >> i understand the reason for the law. it's just being misused. incredibly misused. in our case it doesn't apply. she was not taken from an indian home. any other situation there wouldn't have been any contest. >> there you have it. it has been heard in april or there abouts and probably decided in june. >> were you surprised they decided to hear this case? >> i was surprised because you don't see a lot of custody cases, but this is unique and very narrow. it also implicates this law involving indian children that treats them differently than other children of other races who might be adopted. >> interesting case. thank you. in the wake of deadly salmonella outbreaks, they are dishing out new rules to make sure our food
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is safe. athena jones has the details of the proposed regulations. >> that's right. these regulations are designed to save lives. >> listeria in kapt lopes and salmonella in peanut butter. food bourne illnesses strike and nearly 130,000 of them end up in the hospital. 3,000 die. new rues proposed are aimed at changing that. they are being applauded by safety advocates. >> this is an important step towards standards that prevent contamination in food whether produced in a factory or on the farm. >> the rules require many domestic and foreign producers to be sold in the u.s. and plans to prevent them from food bourne illness and correct any problems that do arise.
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the sooif harvesting of fruits and vegetables making sure workers wash their hands and focus on high risk areas like agricultural waters and equipment and keeping wild animals out of fields. >> they are microbial hazard and it is pathogens that caused people to get sick. those types of food bourne illnesses. >> the goal is to track down problems should they occur and help the fda act more quickly. the voluntary industry guidelines. they won't be final until sometime after the four-month period after the public comment. >> the big issue here is making sure the fda has the resources to enforce the rules when they become final. that means money for things like inspectors. >> athena jones, the u.s. navy is going to lengths to warrant
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sailors from using bath salts. the disturbing video the navy hopes will help. become final.
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>> per a dramatic public service
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announcement about the dangers of bath salts. it's hoping the psa will scare sailors away from the synthetic drug. chris lawrence has the disturbing video. what's going on here? >> some people say that the navy went way too far with this psa, but when you look at the effects of the drug, maybe not. normal urinal sis won't detect it, but they started detecting sailors and marines specifically for the drug. it's a shocking video. an actor playing an american sailor high on bath salts. he sees other sailors as demons and punches his girlfriend. he gets wheeled into the er by paramedics. >> bath salts will jack up your family and career. it will jack up your mind and body too.
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>> the navy is increasing efforts after military doctors started seeing more cases. these bath salts don't have anything to do with therapy, but the salts you use at home. >> what we are talking about are synthetic drugs that are synthesized overseas, possibly china. >> the doctor has seen dozens of cases firsthand. >> people act primally and animalistic behavior. >> they think they have inhuman strength and almost impossible to subdue. >> they don't feel anything. >> why are bath salts popular with troops? they are sold on names like vanilla sky. a packet only costs 25 to $50. >> it's cheap, sometimes cheaper than other drugs on the street. it's readily available. >> you can inject or snort it or
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swallow it. it doesn't pop positive. in 2011, an army sergeant killed himself, wife, and young son while high on bath salts. the naval academy used another synthetic drugs. they started random testing last year, but it's hard to keep up with the signs. >> with all the drug dealers, the chemist manipulates the molecule and you have a new drug that flies under the radar. >> since the government banned the two main chemicals, another chemical started showing up and it's ten times as potent as cocaine. while they started testing for bath salts, it will be tough to stay ahead of. >> shocking stuff. thank you. a disturbing discovery on a hong kong roof top. it looks like a decoration, but it's thousands and thousands of
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shark fins. it has animal activists outraged.
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media attention is increasing
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over an alleged rape involving a 16-year-old girl and two local high school football players. 16-year-olds trent mays and matt richmond are alleged to have raped the girl. the boys are innocent until they're proven guilty. in the meantime, as poppy harlow reports, the town of steubenville is dealing with what many residents say is a cloud over their community. >> this is 55. this is 47. >> reporter: for 72-year-old, jerry has called the small town of steubenville, ohio, home. >> steubenville, i grew up there, went to school there. >> reporter: football is big here. >> football is big here. >> reporter: how big? >> it's our hopes and our dreams that are in football. >> reporter: this success of stibenville high's big red football team is a bright spot in a town whose economy has been hurting ever since the decline of the steel mills.
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>> big red football is equivalent to nfl, literally. >> reporter: but with two big red football players charged with rape in august and increasing social media attention since then, many in this town feel under fire. what has this done to the town of steubenville? >> it has put a cloud over the city. and i feel really it's unjustified. the buzz that keeps coming about is that steubenville is a bad place, things are being covered up, more people should be arrested. and i feel that's all unjustly so. >> reporter: activist hacker group anonymous and others have suggested more students may have taken part in the alleged assault or that authorities went easy on the football players, though two have been arrested and charged with rape. who do you feel like is saying this whole town now has a black eye is bad? who do you feel like is saying that? >> i think one of the things of
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mind is the internet -- >> reporter: certainly gone viral? >> yeah. and i think things start to snowball. >> reporter: has preferential treatment been given to these boys because they're part of the football team? >> no. that's not -- they're facing charges. no. >> reporter: the sheriff of jefferson county where steubenville is located told us he's received threatening calls at home over the handling of the case, despite the fact that the case is being prosecuted by the ohio attorney general's office. >> christmas day, the day after, they're calling my home, hey, you stupid s.o.b., why don't you arrest more football players? or hey, you idiot, why aren't you out there arresting more steubenville football players? >> reporter: the sheriff believes some of what is being posted on social media is false. >> it gives us a black eye. with false information out there, it's tough to make it go
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away. >> reporter: the steubenville police chief says he's come under fire. what role has social media played in this, in your opinion? >> i believe they're trying to make themselves the judge and jury on this. and they want to investigate and try everybody -- if you have -- if they have something that could substantiate the statements that they're making out there, if they don't want to come to my department, the attorney general released a hotline number last night, they can go to him. >> reporter: but in the age of social media, what previously would have played out in the courthouse now reflects on the entire town. >> i feel the same way. penn state, the whole college, all the students that go there are condemned because of actions of a certain few. it's the same thing happening here. >> reporter: and i met a mother who came to pick up her first-grade son from school in the middle of the day fearful for his safety, citing threats that she had heard about online
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against the school and the community. she said to me this has become, quote, an attack on steubenville city schools, the football program and the police department. wolf? >> what a story. very disturbing stuff. poppy, thank you. alarming imaging out of hong kong. new outrage about a cultural delicacy. we have details next. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just click away with our free mobile app.
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a global outcry over the practice of shark finning. shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in asian culture but is being blamed for a decline in the shark population. brian todd has been looking at the story for us. it's causing outrage out there. what's happening? >> certainly is. these images give you the most stark picture of just how threatened the world's shark population is. we'll show you video now. someone was on a rooftop in hong kong recently, panned a camera down to another rooftop. look what's there. from a distance, that looks like some sort of mural or other artwork. but closer angles show you what's really there, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of shark fins being dried on that rooftop. somewhere apparently decided to move this operation to this rooftop to shield what was going
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on from wildlife activists in hong kong and others in that area. the practice of finning sharks is outlawed in most countries. that's when fishermen slice off their fins, then toss the shark, often still alive, back into the ocean. when they have no fins, they can't swim and they drown. it's not clear if all of these fins were obtained by that practice of finning. it is legal to slice off -- the fine off a shark once it's dead or bring it to shorened a then do it. shark fins are very valuable in asia. shark fin soup is a prized delicacy out there. it's viewed as something that increases fertility and sexual prowess. finning, hunting and catching -- the accidental catching of sharks are killing off the shark population. this is a stat that will shock you. we followed this up last summer when there was this craze over sharks sighted off cape cod. every year, maybe five people around the world are killed by shark attacks. but we kill an average of 38
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million sharks a year. the figure has gotten to as high as 73 million. i asked expert george burgess what it would do to the entire eco system of our oceans if this apex predator is removed. >> if the sharks are gone, there will be fundamental differences in the sea as we know it today because of the relationships between predators and the animals below them in the food chain. those may be negative in some areas or positive in other areas. you might get more mackerel but you might get less crabs. >> burgess says the world's population of sharks simply cannot withstand this pressure. the growing environmental concerns have prompted some hotels and airlines in asia to distance themselves from the finning industry. but this is threatening. they can't withstand this. >> we'll stay on top of it. thanks very much.
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happening now, back to the brink on capitol hill, lawmakers are drawing battle lines for the next fiscal fight. u.s. troops take up positions to stop syria's bloody civil war from spreading to neighboring turkey. navy women breaking barriers under water. we'll talk to one who could become the first female nuclear submarine commander. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." all that coming up. but right now, a decision on a critical cabinet opening for president obama's second term. one source telling cnn the white house has told some senior members of congress to expect the president to nominate chuck hagel as the new defense secretary with another source calling the nomination, quote, locked down. our chief political analyst, gloria borger, has the news for us. she's been breaking the story for us. what are sources specifically
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telling you? >> to expect the nomination of chuck hagel as secretary of defense probably next week, maybe early next week. this is something that we've been reporting has been out there. he's been at the top of the list since about mid december. there were some people who believe that after the president withdrew the rice nomination or she withdrew herself for the nomination as secretary of state, that there would be some concern about a fight over chuck hagel, who is a republican but also controversial because in the past, he has been against sanctions for iran and for talking for hamas, the pro-israel lobby is dead set against him. but in the end, i was told as you just said that some senior lawmakers have been told by the administration to get ready for this nomination to come up to the hill. >> a whole bunch of respected foreign policy folks just issued a joi statement in support of chuck hagel.
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he's got a lot of backers out there as well. but maybe most importantly, if vice president, joe biden. >> yeah, joe biden is a very close friend of chuck hagel's. they served together in the senate, as you well know. and i think he's been doing an awful lot of groundwork for hagel on the hill. i'm also told that the former senator has been talking to senators privately to pave the way for his own nomination. so while people came out against him immediately when his name was floated, what you've seen occurring is kind of a back game. and they're going around and saying, you know what, there is a reason to nominate chuck hagel and you ought to be for him. >> leon panetta has made it clear he wants to go back to california. >> that's right. he has made it clear that he needs to leave -- secretary of state hillary clinton also leaving now. these are two high-profile jobs. i'm also told, by the way, that
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jack lew who currently serves as the chief of staff to the president, been very involved in these fiscal cliff negotiations, is likely to be nominated as the next treasury secretary. he's got some republican opponents on the hill. and there's some concern in the business community that he doesn't have enough business and market expertise. but he is expected to be confirmed after nomination. >> chuck hagel, maybe to defense. jack lew to treasury. still have to do cia -- other jobs to do as well. but the president is still in hawaii right now, coming back over the weekend. >> and it's interesting when you talk about this president and talking to people who are familiar with his thought process. it's really about a comfort level for this president. he likes to nominate people he already knows, feels comfortable with in his inner circumstance. . we've seen that on the white house staff, for example. that's what i think we're seeing here in these nominations. >> obviously feels comfortable with john kerry who was nominated as secretary of state.
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i think he likes chuck hagel a lot. we'll see despite the confirmation process how it unfolds. >> thanks for that. a brief glimmer of bipartisanship is being replaced with new battle lines up on capitol hill. kate bolduan is here with more on this part of the story. >> surprise, surprise. lawmakers are already digging in ahead of looming fights, including one over raising the debt ceiling, coming very soon, which is already prompting talk of a government shutdown, if you can even believe it. cnn's national political correspondent jim acosta is here with the latest. what are you hearing? >> seems old habits die hard, especially on capitol hill. remember all these feelings of kumbaya as the 113th congress was sworn in yesterday? well, never mind. after surviving a failed coup, a beleaguered speaker john boehner wants to take that same party
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into battle. a source in the room tells cnn boehner said he will demand budget cuts larger than any increase in the nation's debt limit. with the fiscal cliff behind us, boehner said the focus turns to spending. that puts republicans in congress back on a collision course with the white house, after the president insisted earlier this week he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. >> i will not have another debate with this congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up through the laws that they passed. >> reporter: if the president won't come to the bargaining table, one top republican in the senate says in an op ed, it may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country. democrats warn, watch out. >> risking government shutdown, risking not raising the debt ceiling is playing with fire. >> on this vote, the yeas are 354. the nays are 67. >> reporter: a preview of that
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brinkmanship came in the house where 67 republicans including paul ryan voted against $9.7 billion in aid for victims of superstorm sandy, despite the tongue lashing they got from new jersey governor chris christie. >> shame on you. shame on congress. >> reporter: the fact that the rest of the storm relief is now up in the air until a vote later this month was a letdown for new york and new jersey lawmakers. even the freshmen. >> i'm new here. i don't know all the rules of washington, but it sure seems like the rule here is to put off till tomorrow what should be done today. >> reporter: it was a return to the reality of broken government in washington. >> come on, take a chance. >> reporter: after all of that goodwill on display when vice president joe biden was swearing in members of the 113th congress and hamming it up with their loved ones, one day later, we asked the vice president if things have changed. mr. vice president, are we back to a season of bipartisanship
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here? his response off-camera, we're back to certifying the election. it's a ritual mandated in the constitution and a reminder of the few things that can get done without a fight. asked whether the congress is back to a pattern of brinkmanship, one top gop aide said, yes, absolutely, the next few months, the aide added, will not be any fun. >> and speaker boehner has been making that demand since the beginning of this fight, budget cuts equal to or greater than any debt ceiling increase. it looks like that has not changed. >> an election was official today? >> that's right. >> they have the electoral college decided? >> that's right. and i'm looking at today as closure for the romney campaign. but one thing that did come out, chris christie and the governor of new york, andrew cuomo, put out an e-mail saying, we expect this other $50 billion to get passed.
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that is not a sure thing. has to get through the house, go over to the senate. >> not a sure thing till it's done. >> that's right. >> you can be sure that legislators and lawmakers in new york and new jersey will be making a stink if that second part doesn't get passed. at least 80 people died in civil war fighting in syria today according to opposition groups. with bloodshed increasing in the suburbs around the capital damascus. the united nations now puts the toll from almost two years of fighting at more than 60,000. meanwhile, u.s. troops have now arrived in turkey to man patriot missile defense batteries near the border. here's the latest from istanbul. >> reporter: reports emerged yesterday, turkish media saying that 27 u.s. military personnel have flown into the southern city and are about to begin sight surveillance where these patriot missile batteries should
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go. but it was embellished today saying they have begun the process of flying in military personnel equipment into the military base in the south of the country. that will continue in the weeks ahead. dutch, german missile batteries and military personnel also joining them as nato answers turkey's request for extra defense along that very volatile border with syria. this all started because the syrian regime had been accused of firing shells into turkey, turkey firing back and then going to nato for help. what's really key here is this is such an incredibly dangerous part of the world. rebel forces and operation, a porous border, desperate regimes on their back foot there. and concerns that the bashar al assad regime will reach in for the nastier weapons, chemical weapons. and akcations that scud-type missiles have already been used. with the escalation of the conflict, we have u.s. troops on the doorstep of this civil war.
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they say they're purely there to defend turkey. if it gets out of hand, they could somehow be dragged in. still ahead, a year-end snapshot of the economy. detailings of new unemployment numbers, small business owners tell us what the numbers mean to them. also a warehouse filled with critical police evidence is ravaged by sandy's floodwaters. now the fallout is landing in court.
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days after the last house of representatives ignited a huge political firestorm, refusing to vote on a $60 billion aid package for the thousands of superstorm sandy victims.
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both chambers of the new congress have approved a smaller $9.7 billion measure. the remaining $51 billion will be considered later this month. now there's another problem involving the superstorm. floodwaters damaged critical police evidence and it's now impacting some trials. cnn's mary snow is working the story for us. how serious is this problem we're talking about? >> reporter: it's really unclear because the warehouses storing that evidence are still closed off to workers. already, though, there are several trials that are going on where physical evidence isn't available. this flood-damaged warehouse right on new york harbor could actually clog the city's overflowing criminal system for years to come. it sits in an area of brooklyn devastated by superstorm sandy. inside it, there are thousands of pieces of police evidence ranging from dna to narcotics to guns that right now can't be touched. >> significant flooding has taken place, no question about
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it. we're still trying to sort through this and assess the total damage. it's a big job. >> reporter: that was back in november. the police department says it still hasn't been able to get into this facility and a second one because sewage contamination has made them unsafe. but trials can't wait. cnn's legal contributor paul callan is a former prosecutor. >> could be a major problem if evidence that has been damaged is critical to proving a case. >> reporter: the nypd says so far there have been six criminal cases where police have said there is evidence but it's not accessible. those cases have not been dismissed. in cases involving dna and narcotics, prosecutors rely on results from tests that are done on smaller samples of the evidence. police say those results are kept at a different facility that was not compromised by the storm. what about cases where there is, let's say, blood evidence, where
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the physical evidence is in that warehouse but the test results are in a different location? >> you would have the issue of, is there enough for the defense to fairly test the sample to determine whether it's the defendant's blood or not. so it wouldn't necessarily be fatal to a case, but in criminal cases, beyond a reasonable doubt is a very, very high standard of proof. and if you eliminate the physical evidence, you can put a serious dent in the prosecutor's case. >> reporter: the nypd has consulted with its counterparts in new orleans where evidence and records were destroyed following hurricane katrina. the new orleans police department says one key difference is that floodwaters remained at the new orleans courthouse for weeks where evidence was destroyed. and they had the job of cataloging evidence that could be salvaged. >> it took years. it is not something that can be easily done. and in new york, you're looking at facilities that are much more
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vast than what we had here in new orleans. so that compounds it even more. >> reporter: now, new york's police department says it expects to get into those warehouses in the coming weeks to assess the exact extent of this damage. already the chief attorney for new york city's legal aid society is bracing for serious repercussions noting there are more than 200,000 criminal cases in new york city every year. >> mary, i'm a little surprised these warehouses weren't better protected if they have such important evidence in there. what are you hearing about that? >> reporter: yeah, you are not the only one surprised. you take a look at that photograph and you see how vulnerable that warehouse is because it's sitting right there in the new york harbor. the police said it took some precautions including raising some of that evidence that was on the ground floor. they raised it up. obviously this storm was so extensive. but it also said that in august of this year, it had been looking into moving all of its
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evidence into one location. obviously that is going to be stepped up now. >> that is tough to hear, especially for anybody waiting for one of those trials to take place. mary snow, thank you so much. >> communities all across the oceanfront are learning lessons from what happened. >> my goodness. a little boy's dream come true. a superhero in his own back yard. but the real surprise is who's behind the mask. @@ @ stop! stop! stop! come back here!
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an unruly airline passenger is duct-taped to his seat. kate has that and the other day's top stories. this is amazing. >> never seen anything like this. it is a stunning photo, a facebook picture showing the passenger wrapped in tape. and that photo is going viral. it happened yesterday on an iceland air flight bound for new york. the airline says the man was restrained by other passengers on board but indicated that equipment like duct tape and plastic zip ties are on every flight in case of an incident such as this. port authority police in new york say the man was apparently drunk and wasn't charged with a crime. an update in a story we told you earlier on "the situation
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room," at least three people are dead after a plane crash into a florida -- into a home in florida. the florida highway patrol says all three who died were in the plane. a resident of the home was taken to the hospital, but no word yet on any injuries there. it happened in palm coast, which is about halfway between orlando and jacksonville. the pilot reported the plane was severely shaking, then declared an emergency about ten minutes before the crash. and an amazing story of recovery coming out of london, three months after being attacked by taliban gunmen, malala yousufzai has been discharged from a british hospital. amazing. she was shot in the head for speaking out, advocating simply for education for pakistani girls. there's still work to be done for the 15-year-old, now an international symbol of courage. she'll likely undergo cranial reconstructive surgery soon. but amazing to see her walking out of that hospital. sergeant jason reynolds of fayetteville, north carolina,
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recently came home from afghanistan on emergency leave to witness the birth of his daughter. he knew he had to do something to make sure his other child, noah, would feel important with the new baby around. and, boy, did it work. >> spider-man! >> reporter: noah reynolds was thrilled when spider-man jumped into his back yard. but when the masked crusader pulled off the mask, he was stunned. >> daddy! >> reporter: but not for long. he quickly realized it was his dad, sergeant jason reynolds. >> he surprised me. dad, you surprised me. >> that was from cnn affiliate wtvd. unfortunately, sergeant reynolds just missed his daughter's birth but all was not lost. he says he's pretty sure his son thinks he now is actually spider-man, which pretty much makes him the coolest dad ever. but he serves our country, which i think makes him the coolest dad ever. >> i believe he is spider-man.
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he looked like spider-man. >> he's going to go to school and tell all his friends that his dad is spider-man. >> i love that. can't get enough of that. thank you. a rising star of the democratic party takes a seat in the house of representatives. what's on his first-term agenda? i'll ask congressman joaquin castro of texas.
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happening now, an unemployment rate that won't seem to budge. we go inside the new jobless numbers with the former white house chief economist. democrats in the house pick a rising star at the president of their freshman class. congressman joaquin castro of texas, he's here in "the situation room." and we'll meet the officer who could become the first woman
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to command a nuclear submarine. december's unemployment numbers are out. the labor department says 155,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. but the unemployment rate remains steady at 7.8%. business owners are taking the news a little differently. cnn's white house correspondent dan lothian talked to some of those business owners in hawaii where he is traveling with the president. dan, what are you hearing from them? >> reporter: well, one business owner told us that about a year ago, he felt the economy was headed in the right direction. then the fiscal fight got under way and he put on the brakes. now he's feeling a bit more optimistic about the future. but another business owner told us that he is packing up and starting over. byron gu owns a tea business in honeymoon lulu. is this one of your original products? >> this is.
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>> reporter: courtney owns a car alarm and stereo company just down the road. but these two men view the current u.s. economic climate and latest jobs report through two different lenses. at the tea chest, gu and his five full-time employees see a bright future, especially now that the fiscal cliff fight has been settled. >> so it kind of put all of our bigger plans to invest, to hire new people, to buy new equipment on hold. and now that they've since reached an agreement and we know that, okay, there's some stability this year, we're willing to take a little bit more risk. >> reporter: but courtney is ready to move off the island. his small business, he says, is struggling. and the jobs numbers and optimistic forecast don't mean a thing to him. so he's headed to las vegas at the end of the month.
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>> i'll have to start all over. but i'm not scared of starting ov over. >> reporter: the white house admits there's still a lot of pain across the country but that the trend line is moving in the right direction. alan krueger, the chairman of the president's council of economic adviser says, while more work remains to be done, today's employment report provide further evidence that the u.s. economy is continuing to heal. hawaii's unemployment is much lower than the national rate. but courtney says it's tough for small businesses to make it here, to grow, to hire more people. but at the tea chest -- >> we do some private label packing for several of our customers. >> reporter: gu says he's ready to expand and isn't worried about future fiscal fights thousands of miles away in washington. >> as our business grows, we're going to need to manage it. so we definitely are looking at either a couple of more part-timers or definitely one
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more full-time position. >> reporter: the rnc says it's good news that the u.s. economy is adding jobs. but the unemployment rate is still too high and that this is no time to celebrate after months of near 8% unemployment. wolf, kate? >> dan lothian in hawaii for us this evening. thanks so much. >> he's going to miss that assignment when he gets back to washington, d.c. >> sure is. he's a standout among the new members of the 113th congress and his fellow democrats have now picked him to lead their freshman caucus. talking about the newly elected representative, joaquin castro of texas who is here in "the situation room." congressman, first of all, congratulations. you're president of the freshman class. >> yeah, along with a few other colleagues. so our class is a wonderful one. very diverse. the most diverse in the history of the united states. very excited. >> a lot of us remember the keynote address at the conventi convention. you're here in washington. what is your top legislative priority? >> for me, it's going to be
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education reform, making sure that we graduate more students from high school and that we get them on to college. but for the nation, making sure that we get the country's finances in order, also taking up comprehensive immigration reform and later as the president said, gun safety and gun control. >> you're involved in all those issues. but education, how are you going to do that? make sure more kids graduate from high school? >> i concentrated in texas on two areas that are overlooked. first, reforming our college advising system. we rely on counselors. in texas, the ratio of counselors to students is 1 to 420. a lot of people fall through the cracks. we want to make sure we streamline the system so that more people get to the finish line. >> may be a steep climb in this age of divided government. this is an exciting start of your term. first time in "the situation room," welcome.
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what does the president, when you look at the president, if we had you back maybe at the end of your first term, what do you want to make sure that the president has worked on with you to accomplish in your first term? he has been criticized in his own first term for not keeping some of his promises, like immigration reform. >> sure. absolutely. i think that we've knocked out by the end of 2013 comprehensive immigration reform. >> you think it will happen? >> i believe it will. there's incredible momentum, particularly after the election, i think from both parties. i would be very surprised and disappointed if something has not happened on immigration by december 31st, 2013. >> it would be pretty amazing, when you think about that the former president, george w. bush, he had the support of ted kennedy and a lot of democrats, he couldn't get it done. what makes you think this president can get it done, given the divided senate and house -- the republicans -- the nature of a dysfunctional washington, if you will? >> well, i think the results of the november 6 election. but also public statements by
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politicians in both parties, democrats and republicans. and also by the pundits. and by the american people. if you look at surveys, people want to finally take this issue on. the fact is, there are three or four or five major american industries that would not exist the way they do but for undocumented labor. >> democrats are in the minority again this -- >> you don't need to remind me. >> in the house of representatives. >> in the house of representatives. with the president's comfortable win in his presidential election, why do you think -- just look at the politics. why do you think that your party couldn't take back the house? >> well, i think redistricting had a lot to do with it. the changing the districts, for example, in texas, hispanics accounted for 66% of the new growth. minorities accounted for 90% of the new growth. yet we've got zero of the new seats in the way the legislature drew the map. certainly redistricting. and also, i think, for the first time ever, you had just
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gazillions of dollars being spend by thirty-party groups in these concentrated races. >> you think that was a primary reason? >> i think if you combine all those things, certainly. but we can have a great 2014 and probably an even greater 2016. >> you're on the armed services committee? >> and foreign affairs. >> is the u.s. spending too much on defense right now, just enough? >> well, we've come out of a period where we were in two wars. certainly when you're in that situation, your spending goes up. when you're out of wars, your spending should go down. we have to reassess where we're moving -- >> i'm looking ahead to the squestatiequestration sequestration, the mandatory defense cuts. does the united states really need to spend all of that money? >> i think we need to spend purposely and wisely. the problem with
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sequestration -- and i have three military bases in san antonio. we're military city, usa. >> you're worried about losing jobs -- >> well, jobs, but the way sequestration would happen, it's taking a meat cleaver rather than using a scalpel. there's room for improvement. there's room for efficiency. but we have to do it wisely and not just with blunt force. >> are you sick and tired of all the stories about you and your k identical brother -- >> i was just going to ask you about that. your brother was the keynote speaker at the convention. who's winning here? there's got to be some sibling rivalry going on. >> we were very competitive growing up. now we're big supporters of each other. when he's in washington, they call him congressman. >> he got the keynote address. >> that's true. >> i remember in 2004, remember who had the keynote address at that? >> a little known illinois
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politician. >> four years later got the nomination. >> high bar is set. >> congressman, thanks for coming in. good luck. don't leave yet. >> thank you so much. could it be the solution to the debt crisis? a $1 trillion coin. may sound ridiculous, but there's a growing call for the u.s. treasury to mint it. we're going to explain. stand by. look who's back. again? it's embarrassing it's embarrassing! we can see you carl. we can totally see you. come on you're better than this...all that prowling around. yeah, you're the king of the jungle. have you thought about going vegan carl? hahaha!! you know folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than antelope with night-vision goggles. nice! get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. up high! ok. don't you have any usefull apps on that thing? who do you think i am, quicken loans? ♪
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a magic coin capable of wiping out the u.s. debt and averting potentially another nasty political showdown over the debt ceiling. >> definitely sounds like magic. and it may sound too good to be true. but some people are seriously floating the idea of a $1 trillion coin as the solution to the country's next fiscal crisis. >> brian todd is actually looking into this report. sounds ridiculous. but what is going on here? >> sounds crazy. but it is real. economists and legal scholars say it is legal and could be done with the president and congress hurtling toward another showdown that could slam the economy. something like what i'm holding in my hand could actually solve the debt ceiling crisis. >> i want to welcome -- >> reporter: the president says he won't negotiate with congress over lifting the debt ceiling. >> i will not play that game.
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>> reporter: republicans say -- >> the president may not want to have this debate but it's the one he's going to have because the country needs it. >> reporter: while they debate over a debate and race headlong into the debt ceiling, is there a magic bullet to solve the crisis? try a magic coin. some economists, legal scholar rs and now even a congressman are suggesting a $1 trillion platinum coin could be minted and the government could use that to pay the debt, avoid default and preempt the debt ceiling crisis. democratic congressman jerrold nadler of new york believes it's legal. why do you think this is a good idea right now? >> it's better than a government shutdown or defaulting on the debt. >> reporter: and technically, it does appear to be legal. here's how. the u.s. government can print new money but under law, there's a limit to how much paper money
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can be in circulation at any one time. there are also rules that at least limit the denominations that gold, silver and copper coins can be. but there is no limit on platinum coins. the president can issue a platinum coin in any denomination. treasury can mint it and then just print on it, $1 trillion. the president can then order that coin to be deposited at the federal reverse. then -- >> the fed would credit the treasury's account. when the treasury writes checks to pay people, the fed will cash them. >> reporter: and that money would never be in public circumstan circulation. but it could only temporarily pay america's bills, won't bring down the massive debt long term. that's also some conservatives' argument against it. >> i think this is waving pixie dust over the debt and expecting it to go away by a washington gimmick. minting new coins isn't going to do anything about dealing with that fundamental problem. >> reporter: and what if the coin got stolen? remember this from "dr. evil".
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>> if you want it back, you're going to have to pay me $1 million. >> well, apparently then the government could just mint another one of these or maybe a few more. by the way, none of this requires congressional consent. that's why it's attractive to a lot of people. we have tried to see if this is something the president would actually consider. the white house has not gotten back to us on this. >> weren't these types of coins only meant to be commemorative -- >> this is really just a replica of a replica. they are meant to be commemorative. it was to allow for commemorative coins to be issued. but the treasury secretary has the authority to mint these in whatever denomination they want. they could do it and put it in the federal reverse. it is nuts, but it is possible legally to do. >> we're going to continue this conversation on this in a moment. >> guess what? washington's nuts. >> yes.
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>> brian, thanks very much. let's get more on the government's latest unemployment report. >> the labor department says the unemployment rate held steady in december at 7.8%, 155,000 jobs were added to the economy. but 12.2 million people remain unemployed and the number of long-term unemployed is almost at 5 million. >> let's go inside all of these numbers with the form white house chief economist, austan goolsbee who's joining us. your quick reaction to this $1 trillion coin. is there real, is it baloney? you're an economist. tell us what you think. >> i was wondering if i had that coin and i put that in a coke machine, how would i get change back from that coin? >> a lot of change you'd need. what do you think about all this? how ridiculous is this? >> i think it's borderline pretty ridiculous. that's just a different way of
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monetizing the debt, that is, the printing of money to pay off government bills. i think anybody who's actually advocating full monetization of the u.s. debt had better go look at other countries and what happened to inflation when you monetize the debt. >> but is it technically feasible -- is it technically even possible? >> i don't know. there's a lot of different coins. we can't get people to adopt the susan b. anthony dollar. so i don't know if people are going to embrace the $1 trillion platinum coin. why make it out of platinum? why not make it out of plastic? didn't sound like that was forbidden? i'm not a monetary legal scholar. but it seems a little farfetched to me. >> let's turn to things that seem a little more realistic, at least for the moment, austan. the december jobs numbers. they've been described as flat as wolf was referencing earlier. how would you describe this report? >> i think it was about what was
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expected, which is okay, but not much better than okay, but not much worse than okay. we've seen actually a pretty startling consistency from the jobs numbers for the last several months, which is growing around 150,000, unemployment is ticking up or ticking down .10% or .20%. that's some progress but it's not enough progress. i think all that's reflecting is that the economy's been growing around 2%, not any great shakes. people were hoping that we could come out of this debate about the fiscal cliff, debate about the debt ceiling, maybe give some momentum to the private sector and get the growth rate back up to 3%-plus so you could really start seeing some substantial improvements. i don't know that we really saw that. you saw in your report some small businesspeople saying they felt a little better. but a lot of the people i talk to are say, oh, no, now two
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months from now, we're going to have to do the same thing all over again. we've got a little groundhog day element. >> what also concerns me, if you look deeper into the numbers is the unemployment rate for minorities. 7.8% across the board. but for african-americans, it went from 13.2% in november to 14% in december. latino unemployment rate is at 9.6%. here's the question. is enough being done to focus in on minorities in dealing with this problem? >> in a way, probably not, though you don't want to overreact, as we always say, wolf, to any one month's numbers. and that's especially true if you start taking a smaller slice out of the numbers. so the overall job growth was 155,000. and that's plus or minus 100,000 on a monthly basis. so keep that in mind. i'd say, among minorities and among young people as well as
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among high school, education, those three groups have had very high unemployment. it's been very persistent. and that's the weakest part of the job market. long-term unemployed and high unemployment rates in those groups. i think we've got to focus on that. now, i think the most important focus we have is start growing faster. >> if that could get the economy growing at 3%, 4%, 5%, that could create a lot of jobs across the board. right now, it's about 2%. that's not enough. let's talk a little bit about erskine bowles. the bowles/simpson commission came out with a grand bargain, a grand scheme. listen to what he said about that missed opportunity to jump on that, to accept what his commission recommended. >> well, look, i was disappointed at the time. but i came to understand that what he was doing was his goal was to use it as a framework for his discussions that he had with
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speaker boehner back in the -- almost two years ago now in his first effort to get a grand bargain. he felt that was the best way to be successful. if he'd been right, he would have proven to be a political genius. unfortunately, he wasn't. they didn't get a deal done. so i was very disappointed. >> you were in the white house then. how big of a blunder do you believe it was -- looking back with hindsight, we're obviously all a lot smarter now -- to have missed that opportunity? >> erskine is a friend of mine and i respect him a lot. i don't think that that's quite the right characterization. if you remember, the simpson-bowles proposal didn't
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actually get enough votes on the fiscal commission itself to pass. it was universally voted against by the house republicans. it was clear when the simpson-bowles proposal came out that it was dead in the water because the republicans in the house were going to oppose it because it had a tax increase. and the president had been elected saying he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class. i think if the president had just stood up and said, let's do everything in simpson-bowles rather than let's do the idea of simpson-bowles, republicans would not have met him halfway and said, that's a very mature starting point, mr. president, why don't we compromise on it? i think they would have said, see, the president lied, he's for raising taxes on the middle class. so i don't know that there actually was the moment that erskine's describing. but before anybody writes it off, i think if you ask seven months from now, we had debt ceiling, we had the fiscal cliff fight. we'll have another debt ceiling fight. we may end up with something in total close to to what simpson-bowles proposed. >> i think that would be good for the frunt.
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austan, thanks so much. they stay submerged for months at a time in tight quarters without even seeing the sun. serving on u.s. submarines is a new role for female sailors. we'll spend some time with one of them. bright students are getting lost in the shuffle. and administration's work gets more complex every year. when you look at these issues, do you see problems or opportunities? with an advanced degree in education from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to meet these challenges and make a difference in the lives of students. let's get started at capella.edu.
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women in the military are definitely making strides under water. cnn's pentagon correspondent chris lawrence talks to an officer who's on track to become the navy's first female submarine commander. >> reporter: it's a new frontier for female sailors. submerged for months, no sun, no space, no sleep. lieutenant junior grade marquette levek is one of the first women to qualify for submarine duty. >> is it everything you expected? >> i got a lot less sleep. >> we met her a few years ago when she went by the name reed. she was a ka dead at the naval academy when the pentagon opened sub duty to women. >> at the time i was flying, a pilot, selected to be a pilot after graduation. >> reporter: levek decided her
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future was under water, not soaring above it and she wasn't afraid of breaking barrier. we reminded her of what she said then and read some of the reaction from fellow and former sailors. way to go, ladies. welcome to the pride of the fleet. and wear those gold dolphins proudly. but also this is about giving feminists what they want. glad i got my dolphins pinned on before the navies went p.c. and keep the eye candy upwardly mobile. >> there's always going to be inaversion to change and so the best way to deal with that is just go and do my job like any other officer would. >> male and female officers do not sleep in the same state room but that's about it. >> i mean i can't imagine there's very much room for separating men and women. >> honestly i didn't even notice it. >> since all officers share one bathroom they use a sign to warn each other.
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>> we have a sign we flip occupied by male or occupied by female. >> reporter: this year she earned her dolphin, a gold chest disease meaning she's mastered operations. it took a year of nuclear training, three more months at submarine officer school and then her first sea tour. >> it's a huge honor to finally really feel like i'm a part of the submarine community. >> reporter: she's only one of three women qualified as unrestricted line officers. that's big because down the road she would be eligible one day to assume command of a nuclear powered sub and it's pretty clear whenever a war is waged under water, women are going to be a part of that fight. chris lawrence, cnn, the pentagon. >> very impressive. let's check in with erin burnette to see what's coming up aet the top of the hour. >> who's going to be the next
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president? will it be a woman or another black man? that's a big question. our next guest says we're sure to have our second black president in 2016. naming names and who else it might be. interesting conversation. plus, wolf, we had a chance to talk to mcdreamy, patrick dempsey, the "gray' ees 's "gre star." ee we're going to talk to him. two boyce stranded on an icy lake. we'll have the details. that's next. [ woman ] uh-oh.
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[ male announcer ] when diarrhea hits, kaopectate stops it fast. powerful liquid relief speeds to the source. fast! [ male announcer ] stop the uh-oh fast with kaopectate. two teenaged boys are lucky to be alive after being stranded for houses on an icy pond. here's cnn's sandra endo. >> reporter: a lesson of a lifetime for two boys, saved in dramatic rescue in arizona. a 14-year-old and 15-year-old were crossing a partially frozen pond when the ice beneath them began to crack. they scrambled to a nearby dead tree risingings outth

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The Situation Room
CNN January 4, 2013 1:00pm-4:00pm PST

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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